Angry, Controlling Fiancé Wants Me to Move In with His Parents

Hello. My fiancé and I have been fighting a lot recently. We live four hours away from each other. He is living at his parents’ house, working, and saving money for our own apartment in his hometown. I am currently with my family. My problem is he wants me to move in with him and his parents. I don't want to. I don't want to live with his parents. It's nothing against them or him—I do want to live with him, I just want our own place. I don't want to be a burden on his family; they are already struggling to maintain themselves and him. If I move in, that will just add more weight on them. I don't want to live off of them. I told my fiancé this, and he gets so mad at me, yells, swears, tells me I'm a liar, and he won't believe I do love him and want to be with him. Is it so wrong? Is it so wrong I want to live in our own apartment and not off his parents? He is the most important to me. He is the one I plan to be with for the rest of my life. But he said, "If you don't move in, I'm leaving you." He's not giving me a choice. He's not listening to me or how I feel. I try to get him to calm down and talk to me about it, but he has very serious anger issues. He never wants to talk about anything; he just gets mad and yells, and I'm to the point where I am terrified of him. But I can't leave him. He is my first relationship. We have been together for more than two years. I have known him for three years. He was my best friend before we started dating. He was never like this, not at all. He always used to talk to me and listen to me. It's all different now. I understand his job brings him a lot of stress and he tends to take that out on me. He is also very controlling. I'm not allowed to have friends. I had lost all my friends because he just doesn't like them. He has to approve of what I wear. And I don't wear anything bad; I wear respectable clothes. But he thinks all clothes are horrible and that I "just want other guys’ attentions." I'm not allowed to play online games, like “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield.” Even though I set my gaming systems privacy to where I can't hear anyone, I can't talk to anyone, no one can talk to me or send me friend requests, he still won't allow me to play online. He also won't allow me to watch “R”-rated movies. If a movie shows a guy with his shirt off, he goes crazy and gets mad at me and just stops the movie/show. (I'm 20 years old, by the way.) And what is worse than that is that I can't leave the house. I'm not even allowed to step outside. He gets so mad and yells at me. If I go out with my own family, he threatens to break up with me. My mother and I took my sister out to the movies for her birthday last week, and he got so mad at me, he told me to "go to hell" and he broke up with me. We had gotten back together an hour later. But he is still mad at me for it even now. I am not allowed to do anything. Yet, he watches "R"-rated movies all the time, and he goes out with friends all the time (he has more girl friends than guy friends). He plays online games all the time, he goes out with his family all the time. I am OK with all of that. I don't get mad at him for it. I don't care that he does any of that. But why am I not allowed to? It just doesn't seem fair, not at all. My biggest issue, though, is moving in with his parents. If I don't, he'll leave me. He's not giving me a choice. And he is treating me like I'm to blame. I'm always to blame, I'm the one who is always in the wrong. Is it so wrong? I don't understand and I don't know what to do. —Decision Time
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Dear Decision Time,

I am seeing a lot of red flags here. The behaviors you are describing—having to approve of what you wear, not “allowing” you to play online, watch movies, see friends, leave the house—none of this is OK. You have not done anything wrong. What you are describing are typical patterns of behaviors in abusive relationships. I am not saying that your fiancé is abusive, but the fact you say you are terrified of him and his anger is significant. Abuse can take many forms, not just physical.

Some of the warning signs of current and possible future abuse include:

  • controlling behaviors
  • jealousy
  • isolation from family/friends
  • blaming partner for problems
  • blaming partners for feelings (“it’s all your fault”)
  • using threats

You have described all of these behaviors in your letter, which concerns me. I do not doubt that you love him very much. The relationship that you have right now, though, does not sound healthy or balanced, and I am concerned for your well-being. Healthy relationships are not about control. Healthy relationships are not about punishing a partner for spending time with family. Healthy relationships are not about cutting a partner off from friends. Healthy relationships are not about ultimatums (threatening to break up with you if you do not move in). Healthy relationships are not marked by fear.

I hear you offering explanations for his behavior—stress at work—but this is not about stress at work. This is not just going to get better on its own. This is not a phase that he will come out of. In fact, these behaviors are likely to get worse, more intense, and more painful. Agreeing to move in is not going to make things easier or better. These issues will most likely be even more present, and you risk giving him even more control over your actions. You say he’s not giving you a choice, but you do have choices. I strongly urge you to connect with resources in your area to get some support with how to make choices that keep you safe and healthy.

Please take care of yourself,
Erika

Erika Myers
Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC is a licensed psychotherapist and former educator specializing in working with families in transition (often due to separation or divorce) as well as individuals seeking support with relationship issues, parenting, depression, anxiety, grief/loss/bereavement, and managing major life changes. Although her theoretical orientation is eclectic, she most frequently uses a person-centered, strengths-based approach and cognitive behavioral therapy in her practice.
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  • Kaitlyn

    Kaitlyn

    March 15th, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Can you say run as fast as you can? Because I can
    This guy is throwing up serious warning signs here and I think that you are failing to motice them. I don’t need someone to control my life quite this tightly other than me and I would probably say that you don’t either. Girl, it is time to look ahead and move forward because I see nothing good coming out of this.

  • reagan

    reagan

    March 16th, 2013 at 6:02 AM

    I know that right now you think that you love him, and in many ways you probably do. But think about it this way: does he really love you back, or does he like just having someone he can lord over and be in charge of? That and love are not the same thing, and I think that if you let him win on this one, then you are constantly going to find yourself in a position of giving up what you want in life to please him all the time, and that doesn’t sound like fun to me.

  • Les Lee

    Les Lee

    March 18th, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    I can’t even fathom why you would sign on for this even before you are married. . .

  • marlon

    marlon

    March 18th, 2013 at 4:53 AM

    no matter how long you’ve been together or the level of your relationship,nobody should control their partner to this extent.not only is it not fair but it is damaging to you in the long run.

    dont move in,try talking to him and see how it goes.whether his love helps him understand your point of view will be evident.

  • Renee

    Renee

    March 18th, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Oh, my. I want so badly to be constructive, but I just can’t. RUN FOR THE HILLS! No matter what pain you may have from breaking up with him, it will be soooooooooooooooo worth it in the end!

  • sallie s

    sallie s

    March 18th, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    u didn’t say whether he hits you or no but i can guess i was in the same place as u when i was 20 and i’m 43 now.

    let me make myself clear under no way should u marry this man if u think he’s mean to u just wate til u have kids

    then not only will u have to protect urself u’ll have to protect ur kids to. so then u’ll have to leave and go to a shelter with ur kids and be scared for ur life and theres. even if he goes to jail for what he did to u. u’ll always be lookin over ur shoulder.

    let me make myself clear do not marry this man break up with him right now

  • Naya

    Naya

    March 18th, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Yeah, this ain’t gonna get no better at all. Do yourself a huge favor and get out of that relationship now. Just be prepared for all heck to break lose when you do. It’ll get a lot worse before it gets better. Make sure you got security or something with you all the time. Good luck to you.

  • p hawkins

    p hawkins

    March 18th, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    3 things:

    1. Break up with the jerk.
    2. Get yourself into counseling and stay there for at least a year.
    3. Commit to staying single for a year. Anyone worth anything will understand what you’ve been through and wait on you.

  • Jeanie

    Jeanie

    March 18th, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Please know that this is not your fault. You have done nothing wrong and don’t deserve any of this. Please get yourself away from this dangerous situation. It will be so hard at first and you’ll miss him so much. He’ll probably tell you how he loves you so much that he’ll change. At first, he will change and things will be great, but then everything will get bad again. Please, please take care of yourself by breaking this cycle and leaving him for good. You can’t go back to him at all, no matter how tempted you may be.

  • Ruthie

    Ruthie

    March 18th, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    Education is power. Educate yourself. Pick up the book “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft. Read the whole thing. It may be a struggle to get through it and you may want to put it down and say it’s not about your or your boyfriend. Read it anyway. If you have to, tell yourself you’re educating yourself in order to warn “some other girl.” It may taste like medicine going down, but it’ll make you very strong. And isn’t it about time?

  • Claire

    Claire

    March 19th, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    I hate to tell you this but this is only just the tip of the iceberg of how he is going to treat you if you do decide to make the mistake and walk down the aisle with him. he is showing you who he is right now- this is supposed to be the honeymoon phase where he treats you like a queen. If this is his good then I sure would hate to be around when he finally decides to show you the bad.

  • carla

    carla

    March 20th, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    your boyfriend sounds like an illogical and impractical person who would like to keep you locked up in a tower where nobody can reach you. get out before the relationship turns any worse. he could even harm you with what you have described.

    “My problem is he wants me to move in with him and his parents.”
    yet another step in taking complete control over your life.

    “I don’t want to.”
    There, you have your answer. Now say it straight and firm to your illogical boyfriend. You don’t have to trouble yourself over this crazy person, girl.

  • Shaye

    Shaye

    March 25th, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    I know all this advice must be overwhelming u and it’s not easy. I fell in love with a TOXIC MAN much like ur fiance’. Do urself a favor, do an internet search on “TOXIC MEN” and u’ll see the articles describe ur fiance’ very well. Do u want to live a life with no friends or family, never making ur own decisions?…..do u want ur children to grow up in a house where daddy is someone to be scared of? PLEASE LOOK UP INFO ON “TOXIC MEN” AND THEN GET COUNSELING………you’re scared for a good reason. Listen to that voice.

  • Carol

    Carol

    November 20th, 2014 at 3:34 AM

    My daughter is in a relationship with someone who sounds very similar. This is her first relationship and she has lost herself completely in this toxic situation. Don’t lose yourself as my daughter has. Healthy relationships don’t cause this kind of turmoil. Concentrate on yourself and your future. If a relationship doesn’t uplift you and enhance your life or if it causes disharmony in your other relationships with your friends and family then it’s toxic and you can and must find the strength to walk away. First loves are just that, first but certainly not last and you deserve to allow yourself an opportunity to develop healthy relationships.
    My daughter has completely cut herself off from her friends and family and chooses to remain in what we have recently discovered is now a physically abusive besides emotionally abusive and controlling relationship.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    November 20th, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Carol. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about domestic violence at https://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-domestic-violence.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Beth

    Beth

    October 26th, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    All this advise… It’s all true, these women have been thru it, there is no mistake. Even now, he may still harass you, if he does, don’t wait you need to get in contact with an abuse center. You may think he will give up, get tired of it. But he is apt to be persistent. Please don’t gamble with your life, this man is serious bad news. For every person that wrote to you, you can count another 1000. Please learn from our experiences. Praying for you, Sister

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